Exhibit Honors the Pulitzer Prizes' Centennial

1942 Editorial Cartooning "British Plane," NEA Service by Herbert Lawrence Block was awarded the 1942 Prize for editorial cartooning. The printed drawing is featured in the RBML exhibition.

RBML hosts numerous Prize recipients, including a selection of the inaugural winners from 1917: Julia Ward Howe by Laura E. Richards and Maude Howe Elliot, winners of the first award for biography, and “Inside the German Empire,” a series of articles from The New York World by Herbert Bayard Swope, awarded the first Prize for reporting. The exhibit will showcase the breadth and longevity of the Prizes, featuring its earliest winners as well as recent recipients, such Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, the 2016 winner of the Prize for drama.

“It has been a great privilege to work with the Pulitzer Prizes collection [at] RBML and to uncover so many great stories about the people who have received the Prize,” said Jennifer B. Lee, curator of the Prize exhibit and performing arts in RBML.

The exhibition begins with a brief overview of the life and work of the Prizes’ creator, Joseph Pulitzer, famed newspaper publisher and founder of the Columbia School of Journalism. The Prizes initially included nine awards in education, journalism, and letters and drama as well as five traveling scholarships. Since their beginnings in 1917, the Prizes have evolved and shifted, now recognizing outstanding work in local and national reporting, editorial cartooning, photography, fiction, music, poetry, and more.

Among other pieces from the Prizes’ hundred-year-long history, the exhibit features original drawings of award-winning cartoons from World War II as well as a number of significant “firsts,” including the first Prize for photography, awarded to Milton Brooks of The Detroit News in 1942. Gwendolyn Brooks’ Annie Allen, the first recipient of the Prize for poetry from 1950 and the first award presented to an African American, and samples of work from Signe Wilkinson, the first of only two women to date who received the Prize for editorial cartooning, are also on display.

The exhibition, on the sixth floor of Butler Library, is open to the public during RBML hours. For more information on the Prize exhibit, please contact exhibition curator Jennifer B. Lee (jbl100@columbia.edu).

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